25.9.09

Rehearsal

The evening was already half gone when Shabbat staggered in, charming as usual but a little distracted. She looked wan and washed out in her unabated white, and when she smiled in the receiving line her eyes had a faraway and wistful quality to them.

All through the night her lips moved as though she were memorizing lines, and in off moments she hummed long, clear notes that arched upward near the ends toward the wide, black sky.

At the end of the day she flitted out quickly, with barely a goodbye. Later this week I expect to see her among the angels, singing her heart out in seraphic devotion and shining in dazzling purity among all the other promises I have tried to keep.

18.9.09

Coming full circle

Evening arrives with a soft hum, slowly expanding to the O of a conch. It thrums and vibrates down to the toes, it whirls as it grows, circling, eddying, rising around itself in a ramhorn spiral, warning that the day is closing and giving a cochlear reminder that another rotation is nearly complete.

The last pre-Shabbat moments tumble too fast around the clock face, egged on by the high drone of whirring processers, vacuum rollers, curling blow-dryers. The frenetic preparations crescendo, the windows shake as the air blasts with warning, until no one can ignore Shabbat’s siren song. With a sharp upturned ripple the day/the year/the moment passes, and Shabbat swirls in—plump and curvaceous but nevertheless eclipsed by the new moon.

11.9.09

Water damage

Sometimes life slams into you like raging floodwaters, ripping up your most carefully laid plans and clearing away the collected dust and debris of the years.

Sometimes life seeps in, boring subtly through the hidden cracks to drip questions and new growth into your unsuspecting world.

That might be why Shabbat sometimes appears slowly, like a gathering of gray clouds on the far horizon, and sometimes with the immediacy of a lighting bolt ripping through the retaining walls.

4.9.09

Closets

Shabbat has deep, dark closets lining its hallway, dank from tears and peopled with a cemetery’s worth of moldy skeletons.

Shabbat’s closets are formidable, but so are the thick hardwood doors that close them, the iron locks that twist shut with a dry clang.

And carved on the doors in thick gothic letters are the words, “Do not open until Saturday, after dark.”